Monday, October 20, 2014

What 2014 was like

Outdoor garden: (from right to left)
First bed: Western bed: Squash. Lots of squash.
Second bed: Beans, sunflowers, deal, zucchini.
Third bed: tomatoes, lots of tomatoes. Also marigolds and sage.
Fourth bed: Corn in front. Garlic in back.
Fifth bed: Kale in front; onions and carrots in the middle; kale in back.
Sixth bed: Easternmost bed: peas in the spring. Beans and tomatoes and kale and some sort of strange lettuce thing in summer and fall.

Seventh bed: Southeast bed: Kale, garlic, Swiss chard, parsnips, etc.
Eighth bed: Southwest bed: Lots of rhubarb. Lots of raspberries.

Three beds in the back of the greenhouse: (from right to left)
Indoor bed 1. West bed: Peppers in front, peppers in the middle, watermelon in back. Note: don't do watermelon again.
Indoor bed 2. Middle bed: Peppers front and middle. Watermelon in back.
Indoor bed 3. East bed: Tomatoes in front; tomatillos in the middle, melons in back.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mapping Garlic

Planted garlic a little later this year: in the ground on the last day of September. Added a bunch of compost (including worm bin compost) and dug it in deep. Last year, this space grew zucchini, dill, sage and marigolds.

Unlike years before, none of the seed garlic is from the grocery store. (I’ve planted the cheap basic garlic in years past: they grew wonderfully, and often are larger and tastier than the stuff in the grocery store.)

I bought three heads of seed garlic this year: Rocambole Garlic, also called German Red Garlic:
“Flavor is strong, hot and spicy. Keeps moderately well when properly cured and stored. Can be grown in mild climates; however, develops better quality and size where winters re cold. Color will become brighter if it is stressed by too much water.”

(Source: Irish Eyes, via the Red Barn.)

I also planted two heads of Elephant Garlic:
“(Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is a plant belonging to the onion genus. It is not a true garlic, but actually a variant of the garden leek. It has a tall, solid, flowering stalk and broad, flat leaves, much like those of the leek, but forms a bulb consisting of very large, garlic-like cloves. 

The flavor of these, while not exactly like garlic, is much more similar to garlic than to leeks. The flavor is milder than garlic, and much more palatable to some people than garlic when used raw as in salads.”

(Source: last year's Elephant Garlic, which was grown from a head I got at a grocery store [WalMart].)

We rather like the big stuff. We roast it (the garlic snob version is bake it under a water-soaked clay pot), and spread it on bread. 

I’m concerned about losing track of what went where.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lessons Learned from the Summer of 2014

    Organic Beefsteak tomatoes
  • Maybe be less ambitious with the blog. Admit it: growing stuff is more fun than writing about growing stuff. 

  • Tomatoes: Don't grow 9 varieties next year.
    2014 Winners:

o       Chocolate Cherry (purple cherry tomatoes)
Part of the Basil Hedge
o       Sun Sugar (yellow cherry tomatoes)
o       San Marzano (indeterminate cooking tomatoes)
o       Cherokee Purple (an excellent slicing tomato)

  • Don’t get carried away with kale. (6 – 10 plants; plant spring & fall)
  • Don’t get carried away with basil.
  • It’s cool to use (some) veggies in the flower beds.
  • Stake up the sunflowers!
  • Scarlet Runner Beans.
  • Plan on arched trellises: more stable than poles.
o       Beans
o       Peas
o       Cucumbers
o       Squash
o       (Maybe grow sunflowers through the trellis? 

  • Be more intentional about
o       Carrots
o       Lettuce
o       Beets
o       Spinach

  • Do less with:
o       Corn: don’t waste the time.
o       Squash. Maybe just Hokkaido and Pattypan.
1.6 pound tomato (Brandywine)
o       Don’t bother with Armenian cucumbers: hard to grow, not real impressive results.
o       Nasturtiums: they want to take over. Plan accordingly.
o       Marigolds: specify the smaller size, and plant sparingly.

  • Change how I use the greenhouse:
o       No melons in the greenhouse (a pain to pollinate)
o       No cucumbers (a pain to pollinate)
o       Only 1 tomato plant in the greenhouse, or even better: none (they don’t need greenhouse & they take a lot of space.)
o       Peppers are good for greenhouse (easy manual pollination)
o       Starts and such are real appropriate in the greenhouse.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 2014: The State of the Garden

Scarlet Runner pole beans going nuts on some sunflowers.

Next year: plant the sunflowers 2 or 3 weeks earlier.
Why do they call it a Black Krim tomato if it's red? But it IS yummy. 
Cherokee Purple tomatoes. Presumably they'll be purple later.
Kind of wimpy carrots. I don't understand. Carrots were epic the last few years. This year, they're wimps.
Garlic is doing great, though. 
 Kale is going nuts. 
 Onions seem to be thriving.
Rhubarb is ready for its third harvest of the season. 
Poor sage. hidden among the dill and zucchini. 
Winter squashes are going for the gold.
As are the summer squash.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Seed Harvesting

These are kale seeds.

a) These make more seed pods than I expected. Don't let so many go to seed next year.

b) They take a terribly long time to mature. Looking like it will be all year.

c) They need to be propped up.
Leek flower, before opening. The east side of the garden.

Leek flower in full bloom. Same day as above. West side of the garden. You can see one of the honeybees feasting here.

Leeks were a big hit last year.

White onion flower. Gonna have lots of onion seeds, too.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

We Has Beez

Neighbor is a beekeeper. We're hosting a hive. Happy little girls.

They don't like going into the greenhouse, so I don't count on their pollenating there, but outdoors, they're doing a great job.

Bringing more hanging plants out of the greenhouse for their ministrations.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hanging Plants

I've been hanging a number of plants. Some have worked better than others.

This is an Armenian cucumber. Complete fail. 
This, too, is an Armenian cucumber. It's happy as a clam at high tide.

I believe this one was a larger, healthier plant when I stuck it in the hole in the bottom of the pot.
Basil (Genovese). It looked like it was going to fail, but basil doesn't love transplanting anyway. It's turning around (literally and metaphorically). We'll see how well it does.

I just fed it with blood meal. 
Chocolate cherries. Happy! 
More chocolate cherries. More happiness.

This size pot needs a lot of watering when it has a good size tomato plant in it.
Sweet Millions. One of the two starts I bought this year. First ripe cherry tomato July first. Very, very happy. And very thirst
Tomatillo underneath. herbs above. I don't remember what the tall one upstairs is.

This doesn't take nearly as much water.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

An Early Tater Harvest

I know. June isn't the time one usually harvests potatoes.

But most people don't plant them in January, either.

After six months, the tops were dying: the sign that it's time to harvest the taters.

Red and purple taters.

They're delicious.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Early June Pix

Beans and sunflowers to support them, growing happily together.
The dill is quite happy! It's had quite a growth spurt!
Black Krim tomatoes: Not the prettiest things, but the flavor is incredible. 
Squashes. Inside the cage is a volunteer. I don't know what kind. Outside, I believe that's a carnival squash; I saved the seeds from a dinner last fall. 
We tore up the strawberry plants in the garden. Now all we have is weeds. But my, what wonderful weeds. 
I kept one little sprig of a sweet potato as an experiment from last fall when I tore out the plants. Now look what it's done. Georgia Jets.

Sure are pretty vines. I wish they produced well here in the red door greenhouse. 
First baby cucumber. The pickling cukes are the first out of the chute.
Corn. We're going to have corn, for the first time in a very long time.

The "certified  non-GMO" seeds didn't germinate worth a darn: only 4 seeds germinated (and they're in here). The rest are regular Ed Hume seeds.

Leeks have been a huge hit. I'm letting one go to seed, so I can do more of these next year!
And the Peacock Fern is going to grow. Milady likes these!

They're pretty spectacular in quantity:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Two Sub-Greenhouses

We added a couple of what I call "Sub-Greenhouses." They're not the real thing, but I'm thinking they might help.

Nights are still pretty chilly in the NW (in the 40s), and so we're protecting tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers from the weather.

The one on the right covers a whole raised bed; the one on the left covers similar plants in pots.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1 Status

Every tomato in the greenhouse is blooming; the Black Krim has a tomato growing, funny shaped, of course, but it's going to be a yummy thing.

The cucumbers and melons are blooming, too, though only male flowers thus far. Even the tomatillos are flowering.

I thinned the sunflowers that are growing among the pole beans. More sunflowers than pole beans. So I transplanted a dozen, and culled another dozen or two.

It's warm and dry; I'm watering every second day.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

End of May: State of Some Starts

This is coriander (and therefore cilantro) from Germany.
The first of the infamous Black Krim.

(Sounds like an associate of the Dread Pirate Robert!)
 First strawberries. Yumm!
Honey Rock melons. I think they're small cantaloupe. 
Lemon cucumbers. These moved outside later in the day.
The first Ostrich fern! This makes milady happy! 
Georgia Jets. I kept one tendril from last year's sweet potatoes, expecting it to die. It never did.

Let's see how this does!
This is a cherry tomato dangling from the bottom of its pot. We have maters!

It's dangling under the patio.

I'm trying corn for the first time in maybe twenty years.

So far, so good.